Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 5 February 2023
Is.58:7-10, 1Cor.2:1-5, Mt.5:13-16
Today’s readings are both affirming and challenging and, for me, are all interlinked.
Isaiah in the first reading speaks of the great needs of people and the unjust situations that existed. And just in case one’s family is forgotten, he has a reminder not to turn away from one’s own kin.
He follows this guidance with wonderful words of encouragement
‘…Then will your light shine like the dawn
and your wound be quickly healed over.’
And ‘… Your light will rise in the darkness
and your shadows become like noon.’
In the Gospel of Matthew we read what Jesus said to the disciples:
‘You are the salt of the earth…
You are the light of the world.’
I am struck by how strong, definite and affirming these words are which Jesus addressed to his disciples and which he speaks to us today.
Did Jesus pause to let these words sink in as he spoke to his disciples?
Did they, like us, think of people they knew who could be described as salt of the earth or light of the world? Could they grasp that the words were not only what Jesus was saying about them, his followers but they also included his invitation, his exhortation, to them to ensure ‘…the salt did not become tasteless…’ and ‘to let their light shine.’ And this, so that all could ‘… give praise to your Father in heaven.’
Can we take time to hear Jesus speaking these words to us?
Can we see the implications of this invitation to us at this time of our lives, in whatever situation we find ourselves?
The Gospel message is always challenging. We are aware of our weakness. St. Paul certainly had this awareness as he so graphically describes in the second reading today. Who hasn’t at some time experienced something akin to this ‘…fear and trembling…’ St. Paul gives us a public testimony of his frailty but follows it with an assurance of the source of his strength, and of our strength too:
‘…. far from relying on our own power……we rely on the power of the Spirit.’
As we receive light in the darkness on our faith journey may we, whatever our circumstances in life, let our light shine so that our Father in heaven may be praised.
Mary Daly OP